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Resilient Japan: A Symbol of Kumamoto Comes Back to Life
Kumamoto Castle was damaged by the strong earthquakes of April 2016.
However, thanks to the steady progress in restorative work that incorporates the latest in damping technology, visitors can see how it goes.

KUMAMOTO - Disaster Areas in Recovery

A Symbol of Kumamoto Comes Back to Life

Kumamoto Castle was damaged by the strong earthquakes of April 2016. However, thanks to the steady progress in restorative work that incorporates the latest in damping technology, visitors can see how it goes.

Built in 1607, Kumamoto Castle is among the most famous castles in Japan. The extensive castle grounds are filled with nationally designated Special Historic Sites of Japan, and 13 structures, such as the Uto Turret, that endure from the original configuration are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

Kumamoto Castle rises majestically from its base on a small hill. It’s easy to see why it has become a symbol of the city.

Faithfulness to the original is the main premise of restoring cultural properties. “Each of the dislodged stones must be returned to its original position in the stone walls,” says Tatsuo Nomoto, vice director of the Kumamoto Castle General Office.

The appearance of the castle, maintained by earlier generations over its long history, is being restored with untiring diligence. “Our role is to pass Kumamoto Castle on to the next generation as a cultural treasure in the condition that we ourselves received it, which means that each stone must be tracked and returned its original position.”

Tatsuo Nomoto, vice director of the Kumamoto Castle General Office, says that every consideration is being taken to ensure that this rich cultural heritage is passed on to future generations.

Kumamoto Castle is a remarkable castle where it is possible to observe how stone walls and the techniques to build and maintain them have changed over the centuries.

Sorting yard for stones fallen from the castle walls. Hundreds of stones have been placed here and given their own identification number.

Cross dampers that absorb earthquake vibrations caused by earthquakes are being installed in the castle towers.

The 20-year plan for restoring the entire castle, which will be completed by 2038, gives priority to the early restoration of the castle towers, and While the exterior is recovering its original glory, the interior is being upgraded with the latest in damping technology, such as cross dampers. The Cross damper is a combination of the brake damper that absorbs energy during earthquakes and the oil damper that isolates the vibrations of tremors of any size. Thus, cross dampers are being installed in space-restricted areas throughout the castle towers to protect the structure from any future earthquake.

The special opening in October 2019 will allow visitors a nearby view of the exterior of the main tower, and the interior of which will be completed and ready to receive tourists in the spring of 2021. “We hope people will take advantage of this occasion to visit our city and see the heroic efforts devoted to restoring the castle—along with the many natural wonders in Kumamoto Prefecture, such as Mount Aso and Amakusa.” You might even find it worth a visit to observe the gallant efforts underway for this once-only refit of the legendary castle.